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Pershing Square Ups Stake in UMG to 10% After Buying Additional 2.9%

A Pershing Square Holdings affiliate will acquire an additional 2.9% stake in the Universal Music Group from parent company Vivendi.

A Pershing Square Holdings affiliate will acquire an additional 2.9% stake in the Universal Music Group from parent company Vivendi, according to a release by the hedge fund today (Aug. 31).

The acquisition by PS VII Master LP — which is an “affiliated co-investment vehicle,” the release says — increases the amount of UMG that Pershing Square and its affiliates own to an even 10%, equal to the amount that Pershing founder/CEO Bill Ackman planned to purchase through a SPAC in June, a bid that failed in July after investor pushback and regulatory concerns.

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Today’s acquisition of the 2.9% stake is for $1.1 billion, at a valuation of 33 billion euros ($38.7 billion), the same valuation at which Pershing purchased its original 7.1% stake for $2.8 billion three weeks ago. That original deal, announced Aug. 10, included this option to purchase the additional 2.9%, which was exercised by PS VII today.

UMG, which posted $2.4 billion in quarterly revenue in its latest earnings report, could be worth far more than the 33 billion euros at which Pershing is buying in; analysts suggest that factoring in its net debt, UMG’s enterprise valuation is around 35 billion euros, while its investment stakes in companies like Spotify, Tencent and Vevo push that value to 37 billion euros. Other analysts suggest that figure may be on the low end of UMG’s ultimate value.

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Vivendi has already sold 20% of UMG to a consortium of companies led by Tencent, while on Sept. 21, Vivendi plans to spin off 60% of UMG through a listing on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange. With the 10% now sold to Pershing, that will leave Vivendi with a 10% stake in the largest record company in the world once UMG goes public next month.